Album: Hunkpapa (1989)
Charted: 85


  • The stepsisters Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly formed Throwing Muses in 1980, when both were 14. A few years later, the group signed with the upstart British label 4AD and released two albums that earned critical acclaim but sold poorly. In America, the group got a deal with the Warner Bros. imprint Sire Records, which was hot for a hit and demanded a single from their next album, Hunkpapa. Hersh, the primary songwriter in the group, complied, delivering "Dizzy."

    Before we move on, let's explain how Hersh defines "single": "A lousy song that'll fool dummies."

    If you like "Dizzy," don't despair - it's a catchy tune with an intriguing storyline. Lots of other people like it too. Hersh though, hears music in ways the typical listener doesn't. A head injury when she was 16 left her hearing sounds nobody else could hear. She also developed a dissociative personality to channel them. Music, to Hersh, could be tormenting, exhausting, and very intense. With "Dizzy," she was just giving the record company what they wanted on the sonic palate of popular taste.

    And it worked: 4AD commissioned a video and "Dizzy" made inroads on Modern Rock radio, becoming one of the band's most popular songs.
  • The song is set in Texas, there's a Native American involved and somebody is on the run. But it's not clear what's going on - perhaps the confusion is intentional, to evoke dizziness? When Songfacts asked Kristin Hersh about the track, she replied: "That's not a real song. It was a joke, making fun of Warner Brothers when they kept pressuring me to give them a single. I don't believe in the lowest common denominator and kept fighting for quality, but that's a losing battle in the corporate recording industry. We weren't planning on including 'Dizzy' on the record because it's so hilariously bad. Lesson learned: don't make jokes that nobody'll get."


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